January 22, 2018

5.00 am: I dreamt that I lived in a pink farm cottage (that, from a distance, looked like a slab of strawberry ice cream) at the bottom of a long field which sloped upwards towards a dense, dark forest of tall conifers. I owned the narrow public footpath that bordered it; but I’d never before walked the length until now. I asked myself, on waking: Where have I not been that’s both in my possession and legitimate for me to venture?

8.00 am: A communion. For the last few days, I’ve been thinking in a fog, moving forward slowly and being able to concentrate only on what was 6 feet in front of me on the road, metaphorically speaking. I’m as tired on waking as I am on retiring. These are familiar symptoms. I pressed on.

8.30 am: There was a welter of admin to address. Postgraduate applications and examinations were at the head of the list. The process of catching up was slow and very deliberate. 9.30 pm: Off to School to conduct a number of postponed assessments with one of my colleagues:

11.45 am: Email catchup. I’m still one week behind where I need to be, in my estimation. 12.30 pm: I held a viva voce ‘rehearsal’ with one of my PhD tutees who’ll be going the last lap on Friday. At times like this, the supervisor is like a boxing trainer preparing his combatant for the bout.

1.30 pm: A late and hurried lunch at home, before returning to my conference paper for the afternoon and evening:

I still couldn’t get the morning’s dream out of my head. This wasn’t like me; Usually, I pay no heed to sleep world’s visions. I remembered walking to the top of the footpath, which came to an abrupt end at the edge of the forest, and looking behind, down towards the cottage (which seemed so far away now). There’d been a reason for making that journey, and it wasn’t for my sake only. Someone else (their identity was withheld), who’d remained at the base of the hill, had a stake in it.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • The struggle with art is a struggle with oneself.
  • It’s not the knowing but, rather, the not knowing and, sometimes, the unknowing, that makes the creative endeavour worthwhile.
  • Determining the most appropriate mode and form of the completed works’ presentation is one of the hardest aspects of the process to resolve.
  • The aesthetic arises out of the process arises out of the rationale arises out of the concept or intent.
  • The module is about developing potentialities rather more than determining solutions.
  • Learn to tell yourself what to do. Learn to make your own choices. A reliance on others to either guide you or make decisions on your behalf will forestal your maturation as both a person and an artist.
  • You don’t have a right to speak your mind if you won’t assume responsibility for the consequences of so doing.
  • Your choices and decisions will not necessarily please everyone. So give up trying. And, in the end, you alone are answerable for them.
  • No one besides you knows the complete picture: the complexity of the context within which your choices and decisions are made.

 

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